Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Parking and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Tips for finding a safe and affordable parking space for NYC favorite annual parade.

Every year, the City of New York announces a Holiday Traffic Mitigation Plan, along with a series of Gridlock Alert Days and street closures that correspond with popular winter holidays. Spanning the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, these special travel days are designed to make traveling through the city in your Manhattan rental car easier.

In preparation for this year’s release (the Department of Transportation should be finalizing the plan shortly), Action Car Rental would like to take this opportunity to provide customers with some useful parking tips for the Thanksgiving weekend. If you must drive your Manhattan rental car in the city on Thanksgiving Day, be smart – a number of streets are closed in order to ensure a safe environment for parade participants and onlookers.

The Parade Route

Manhattan rental car travelers should note that the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade route has been updated in order to provide more than 2.5 miles of public viewing space. The route begins at the intersection of 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m. From there, the parade will continue along Central Park West turning at Columbus Circle onto Central Park South. The parade then takes a right onto 6th Avenue, where it continues until Macy’s Herald Square.

If you’re planning to park your Manhattan rental car and watch the parade from the curb side, Action recommends avoiding the area of 6th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets as the area of Macy’s Herald Square has limited seating based on national broadcasting regulations.

Road Closures: Balloon Inflation Area

Manhattan rental car travelers should make note of the balloon inflation event taking place Wednesday, November 21 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. A special balloon inflation and viewing area will be set up in the area surrounding the Museum of Natural History beginning at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. Manhattan rental car travelers should avoid this area beginning Wednesday morning.

Traffic and the Parade

For the parade itself (following the new route), the following streets will likely be closed from about midnight until approximately 3 p.m. on parade day. It’s worth noting that streets typically re-open 1-2 hours after the parade, depending on clean-up:

  • Central Park West from West 77th Street to Columbus Square and Central Park South
  • Central Park South between Central Park West and 6th Avenue
  • 6th Avenue between Central Park South and 34th Street
  • Macy’s Herald Square

While traffic will be hectic all day long, it will likely get significantly worse around 1 p.m. as families start traveling to family dinners.

Manhattan Car Parking and the Parade

While street parking is free, good luck landing a spot in your Manhattan rental car. Even though alternate street parking rules are suspended on parade day, chances of scoring a prime spot will be tough. What’s more, normal parking rules will still be in effect. Be careful, or you might find yourself as a recipient of a festive Thanksgiving Day parking violation.

The easiest way to park downtown during the parade is at a garage. Even though garages near the route will likely be charging inflated rates in order to take advantage of the increased traffic, the additional cost will likely be worth the increased convenience. Parking garages near Central Park West and 77th Street have traditionally charged upwards of $30 for a spot beginning the night before for the balloon inflation. If you’re looking to save some cash, Action recommends heading further west and looking for evening special rates beginning around 5 p.m.

Parade day parking will be just as, if not more, expensive. Expect to pay $40-$50 for a parking garage spot near Central Park West. Equally high rates will also be charged at lots along 6th and 7th Avenues.

Look For Early Bird Rates

If you’re planning to be downtown for the day’s festivities, try and get there early. Many garages offer Early Bird Special rates that are available until 9 or 10 a.m. Midtown garages will likely be anxious to fill spaces since offices will be closed for the day.

If the weather is nice, you can also consider parking your Manhattan rental car on the East Side. Then, simply cut through Central Park to get to the parade route. Garages in this area likely won’t have an event or holiday rate in place.

Don’t let traffic or parking hamper your Thanksgiving Day plans.

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